(COLUMBUS) - Starting January 1, the Columbus Fire Department and Columbus Police Department will begin enforcement of the city's municipal code regarding business and residential alarms.
The local ordinance allows for a service charge to be assessed for excessive false alarms.
The ordinance allows for police to respond to three false alarms in a calendar year with no charge assessed. A service charge of $25 will be assessed for each of the fourth and fifth false alarms in a calendar year. Each additional false alarm in a calendar year will be assessed a fee of $50.
The ordinance allows for Columbus Fire Department to respond to a minimum of three false alarms in a calendar year, depending on the number of detectors and pull stations at each facility. The minimum service charge is $50 for an additional three false alarms. Fees can reach $200 per false alarm after nine reports in a calendar year.
Alarms triggered by severe weather, such as lightening strikes or high winds, are not included in the false alarm total. The revenue generated by the service charge is dedicated to police and fire for the upgrading and acquisition of equipment utilized in their response to alarms.
Lt. Matt Myers, with the Columbus Police Department, says that between both departments, they respond to anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 false alarms each year. This year, nearly 1,600 false alarms were logged. By reducing these numbers, Myers says each department can make better use of their assets, including personnel.
Columbus Fire Chief Dave Allmon and Columbus Police Chief Jason Maddix agree on the importance of business and residential alarms to prevent fire, criminal acts, and the loss of life or property. Both encouraged businesses and residents to test alarms to ensure proper working order. Properly functioning alarms reduce liability and minimize the unnecessary use of emergency resources.
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